First class student secures “big four” role and accountancy prize

Autumn MurphyAn Edge Hill accountancy student has not only graduated today as top of her class but also secured a job with one of the “Big Four” global accountancy firms – Ernst and Young.

Autumn Murphy (21) from Chorley has been awarded the Edge Hill Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants (LSCA) prize during her ceremony today (19 July 2018).

She received a certificate and £100 prize from LSCA to acknowledge being the most outstanding third year student on the BSc (Hons) Accountancy programme.

“I was shocked at first when I heard I’d won the prize. There are some very talented students graduating this year who equally deserve to be recognised for all of their hard work and efforts this year,” said Autumn.

“The course was really interesting and covered a wide range of topics. I feel the biggest benefit is the nine exemptions form the professional qualifications which gives students a head start in the professional exams.

“Throughout my studies the lecturers were really helpful and always had the time to further explain anything I had questions on. The Young Enterprise module provided the opportunity to work with students across the department; I found this to be a really interesting and challenging module that helped put my skills into context.”

Autumn originally discovered accountancy while studying a module in her Travel and Tourism BTEC course at Cardinal Newman College in Preston. “The aim of the module was to create a business plan and the accounts. Alongside this, I was enjoying my A level maths so accountancy just seemed like a natural step.”

Autumn has just moved to the Channel Islands after securing a role as a Tax Associate with Ernst and Young (EY), which is one of the world’s largest professional services firms. She believes this wouldn’t have been possible without the opportunities she got at Edge Hill.

She said: “Before starting University I was a very quiet and reserved person. Edge Hill provided me with the opportunity to meet so many amazing people which helped me to build my confidence and social skills.

“When I first started I was extremely worried about my written and reading skills. I have Dyslexia which means it can take me a little longer to read than average. I brought this up with one of the lecturers, who reassured me that it would be ok, provided access to lecture slides before the lecture and made the time to meet with me if I had any problems.

“I also took a placement year in 2016/17 at Triumph Motorcycles.  This was an amazing opportunity and I learnt a lot from it. I can honestly say without these opportunities I would not have been able to secure a job at EY.”

She also has some advice for others at Edge Hill.

“I would say in general just believe in yourself, if you want to graduate with a first class degree you can do it. It doesn’t matter who you are or the grades you have achieved so far as long as you believe in yourself, or surround yourself in people who believe in you even when you don’t you can achieve whatever you want.

“I have always felt from a young age that having a learning disability would limit what I could achieve, but in fact it’s the complete opposite. If anything it has made me more determined to achieve more and push myself more. I would say as long as you’re willing to put the effort in then there are no limits to what you can achieve.”

Find out more about studying accountancy here.

 

Edge Hill University Leads Gender Workshop at the Academy of Marketing 2018

At this year’s Academy of Marketing Conference (University of Stirling), Prof. Helen Woodruffe-Burton, Dr. Francesca Sobande and Dr. Máire O’Sullivan co-organised a workshop on Gender, Marketing and Consumer Research. This event marks a continuation of the Business School’s recent public engagement activity related to gender and consumer culture.

Delegates at the workshop in July learnt about the work of Dr. Wendy Hein (Birkbeck, University of London), who spoke about gender inequality in the field of marketing and discussed the UN PRME gender equality working group.

All in attendance also heard from Sibel Orhan, PhD candidate (Durham University), whose innovative research examines the brand identity of Turkish women in politics.

Prof. Woodruffe-Burton reflected on the history of research regarding gender and marketing, including when mentioning forthcoming publication plans that involve an edited collection to mark the past, present and future of gender and marketing scholarship.

The workshop sparked discussion about topics such as gender and global politics, as well as intersectional studies of gender and the marketplace. It also spurred on ongoing plans to establish a related network of researchers.

The Business School at the Festival of Ideas

 

This year the Business School hosted a wide range of events as part of Edge Hill University’s Festival of Ideas, which focused on the theme of Equalities and took place from May-June 2018.

Prof. Helen Woodruffe-Burton (Director of the Business School) organised a screening of Roman Manfredi’s award-winning and experimental documentary Everything That I’m Not  and which was followed by a vibrant Q&A.

The documentary focuses on three Butch/Stud and Femme lesbian couples. Through captivating footage of their homes, the documentary covers themes to do with identity, consumer culture and self-representation. The Q&A provided the audience with the opportunity to learn more about the documentary-making process by speaking to Roman Manfredi and two of the couples involved.

The Business School’s commitment to addressing issues related to gender and equality also led to Dr. Francesca Sobande co-ordinating the panel event Consumable Women: Gender and Consumer Culture Theory. This brought together leading academics whose work has yielded cutting-edge insights regarding gender, business and marketing: Prof. Shona Bettany (Liverpool John Moores University), Prof. Carole Elliott (University of Roehampton), Dr. Valerie Stead (Lancaster University), and Prof. Helen Woodruffe-Burton (Edge Hill University).

Dr. Erica Lewis also co-ordinated a session on Young Women – Leaders of Today, Not Tomorrow, which drew on her related PhD research. Other Business School Festival of Ideas events included Reducing Health Inequalities through a Joined-Up Approach: An emergency services perspective, which was organised by Prof. Paresh Wankhade.

Academic plays important role in high street taskforce review

Local authorities need to be given more powers to grant planning permission, prevent land banking and encourage landlords to fill empty shops, according to a review published today, following research into the state of Britain’s high streets.

Kim Cassidy, Professor of Services Marketing at Edge Hill’s Business School is the sole full time academic representative on the team led by the former chief executive of Wickes, Iceland and Focus DIY, Bill Grimsey.

The review argues that greater devolution and stronger local leadership is needed to give high streets a renewed sense of purpose and identity.

Among the 25 recommendations in the review are also calls to replace business rates, create a Town Centre Commission to develop a 20-year strategy for local high streets, and accelerate ongoing digital transformation in smaller towns.

The review has also looked at the costs, financing and operating models of towns. It reveals many examples of best practice showing where there is political will and good local leadership, smart regeneration that embraces technology and recognises the challenges posed by an ageing demographic is possible.

The authors have proactively contacted key stakeholders of towns and cities to gather evidence and opinion, as well as understand what town/community plans already exist.

Kim’s academic research identifies issues which can positively inform retailing and has worked closely with the Economic and Social Research Council on this agenda. Her personal research focuses on customer engagement in retail.

She said: “I have really enjoyed having the opportunity, as the sole full time academic representative on the team, to make a contribution to this second review. My role has focused on synthesizing the evidence submitted to the group, which showcases best practice in town centre management and innovation across the country.

“I have been particularly impressed by the enthusiastic response of town centre leaders to Bill’s ideas and interested to see the variety of mechanisms being used to mobilise the energy and expertise of members of the community moving forward”.

In 2011, Mary Portas’ review of the High Street was published with a response from the Government the following year. The Grimsey Review followed in 2013 offering an alternative view to Government which sought to broaden the subject beyond shops, identifying the need to embrace technology and reinvent the high street as a community hub with a combination of goods and services.

Commenting on the second review, ‘retail tsar’ Bill Grimsey said there had been some progress since his original review – but not nearly enough.

“In our first review in 2013 we argued that there is no point clinging to a sentimental vision of the past and that we need to start planning for a bold new world. This is still very much the case and we need to look to the future,” he said. “What we have seen during our research this time is that some very good initiatives have been put in place up and down the country over the last five years. These need to be celebrated, but progress is too slow and the retail landscape is rapidly changing.

“Towns must stop trying to compete with out-of-town shopping parks that are convenient and with free parking. They must create their own unique reason for communities to gather there – being interesting and engaging and altogether a compelling and great experience.

“There are, however, many barriers to progress including business rates, complex layers of government and the current fiscal environment,” he continued. “As a nation we must give every high street and town centre the best possible chance to flourish.”

Find out more about studying at Edge Hill’s Business School here.

Liverpool Sound City 2018: The Review pt1

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“Liverpool is the centre of the music world,” contends Sociology with Politics student Amos Wynn, who covered the festival for Edge Hill. “The city has produced bands like The Beatles, The La’s and The Wombats, and continues to see new artists coming through.” Here’s his round-up of Sound City, Liverpool’s annual musical beanfeast.

Liverpool Sound City is a great opportunity to see the future of the city’s music scene in action, as well as many more great acts from across the world.

Headlining the event are the likes of DMA’s, Peace and The Night Cafe.

Friday was the Sound City+ conference, taking place at Liverpool’s historic Cunard building. This event offered various opportunities to gain an insight into the music industry.

It certainly set the tone for the following days of music and offered advice to anyone wanting to appear there in years to come, with plenty of stalls dotted around the room where people could talk to industry experts.

One person I spoke to was from a musicians’ charity, Help Musicians UK. Their role is to help any upcoming or retired artists who rely on music for their income. They could be integral for anyone looking to forge a full-time career in music.

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The day also had a range of guest speakers, talking about personal experiences and giving excellent advice.

One speaker, who works for a music label, spoke about what labels (Sub Pop) are looking for in emerging artists. The first thing is, of course, the music itself. He also believes they are after songs that are ‘personable,’ which can have different meanings.

A must-see for me was Alan McGee [above, in conversation with journalist and singer/bassist in The Membranes, John Robb], founder of Creation Records and the man responsible for discovering Oasis.

He spoke of his own time in bands and how Creation came about. Listening to someone with as many stories as him was a great insight into life working at a record label.

He said he “never realised [Oasis] were such a great band.”

For me the aim was to gain some advice on entering the music scene from a journalistic perspective.

The different people I spoke to all gave the same advice: to write as much as possible practice technique, with plenty of blogs and websites looking for writers.

Another set of advice was to read as much as possible. As well as reading stuff in my own genre, it’s important to read a range of literature. That would develop my writing skills and show different ways of writing.

It’s also important to impose ideas and have clear, concise opinions. The Sound City conference was an interesting and excellent event to attend.


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The festival itself was superb. With the sun shining down on the Baltic Triangle, the scene was set for an excellent weekend of music.

Walking round you wouldn’t think it was the kind of place to host a music festival, but the choice of venue was an inspired choice.

On Saturday night DMA’S headlined Camp and Furnace. The three-piece put on a wonderful performance with their Britpop-sounding songs; not bad for a band from Australia.

Also, on Saturday Liverpool band SPINN impressed at District.

“We are SPINN, and you’ve been spunn,” were the words of band frontman Jonny Quinn, upon leaving the stage.

He wasn’t wrong. With catchy indie songs, constant changes of sunglasses, and chucking water into the crowd, it made for an entertaining 20 minutes.

It was same again on Sunday, with the sun shining once again. The two stand out acts that day both came from Liverpool.

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Paris Youth Foundation (above) and Night Cafe (below) were exceptional. Both mustered up a great atmosphere with Camp and Furnace bouncing.

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Sound City was a truly wonderful event, and I’m already looking forward to next year.

My top ten acts:

1.      The Night Café (Camp and Furnace)
2.      DMA’S (Camp and Furnace)
3.      Paris Youth Foundation (Camp and Furnace)
4.      Picture This (Hangar 34)
5.      SPINN (District)
6.      Peace (Camp and Furnace)
7.      Neon Waltz (Camp and Furnace, lead pic))
8.      No Hot Ashes (District)
9.      Little Thief (Brick Street)
10.    Novustory (Brick Street)

Podcast: My Eurovision Life

Phil Jackson, Programme Leader for BA Media, Music and Sound, has come a long way since his first Eurovision Song Contest in 1976, watching the UK’s Brotherhood of Man scoop the title. 

Since that fateful night he has been an avid follower, and now combines his passion with his academic research. In this podcast he discusses the history of the event which began life in 1956 with just seven competing nations (over 40 countries now compete, with 16 appearing in the grand final). It now transcends it’s European boundaries, with Australia and Israel invited to the party. He also tells us about his own intimate relationship with the event, revealing some of his personal highlights, and the place the event holds in the European psyche.

Listen to Phil’s podcast here

Podcast: Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters – Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement

20 years after the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), which marked a major political breakthrough in the UK/Ireland peace process, media lecturer Dr Paddy Hoey discusses his new book, Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters: Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement (Manchester University Press, 2018).

Revealing the online life of the debate around Irish republicanism since the GFA, he discusses how it has thrived digitally, the fascinating stories behind the contributors, and how it may have led to an unlikely ideological alliance between Sinn Fein, Boris Johnson, Katie Hopkins, and, theoretically, the Queen herself.

Listen to our conversation with Paddy

Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters: Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement (Manchester University Press, 2018) available now.

Podcast: The Psychology of Emojis

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Dr Linda Kaye, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, is fascinated by how people negotiate the challenges and opportunities of communicating in the digital world. 

In this podcast we talk about Linda’s research (alongside colleagues Dr Helen Wall and Dr Stephanie Malone) into this relatively new area of psychology, and in particular how we use emojis, the funny characters we add to texts, emails, and social media posts. What nonverbal communication functions do they perform, and do they offer an insight into the user’s personality? 

There’s even a film about emojis, although even Linda isn’t ready to suggest what that might say about the human race.

Children In Need

Darcie Caldcleugh believes her BSc in Child Health and Wellbeing prepared her “in the best way possible” for employment. 
And she needed to be prepared.

After graduating in 2016, she now works as a children’s worker with a registered charity, helping young people experiencing domestic abuse. And it can be hard:

“I realised quite quickly that I needed to learn what worked for me in terms of being able to switch my ‘work-brain’ off once I’d left the office - but it took me a while to find my work-life balance, especially when I was in a role where I was required to do regular 24-hour on-call shifts.”

Immersing herself in a Netflix session, or going to the footie, helped her find that balance, but it was her training during the course that really paved the way for her to conquer the emotional demands of this – modules on child protection and safeguarding, research into domestic abuse, front line placements with organisations such as Greater Manchester Police.

But it’s knowing that what she does makes a difference that really helps get Darcie through the night:

“It’s easier to stay strong knowing that we are offering support to children and young people who really need it, where they may not have had a safe space to be able to talk about the things that they have experienced before. The one thing I like to make sure the children know is that I’m there primarily for them. Sometimes just having somebody to validate your feelings can make a big difference. Seeing children able to communicate their feelings, or knowing that their voice has been heard through the work I’ve done, helps to motivate me and to keep going.”

Darcie always knew she wanted to work with children – she just wasn’t sure about the specific area. Child Health and Wellbeing was the ideal course for her, then, because it covered children and young people of all ages across a broad range of subjects, ultimately providing access to a similarly broad range of career options on graduation.

What she was sure about was where she wanted to learn:

“I was drawn to Edge Hill University from the minute I began looking at higher education. I can’t speak highly enough of the tutors as they really do bring so much knowledge to the course. You can tell that the tutors are genuinely passionate about what they’re teaching, and this makes for a really great environment to learn in. I found that whenever I was struggling, the tutors would take the time to help guide me through the topic until I felt confident.”

And she had the opportunity to build into her programme optional modules which she believed could strengthen her employability armoury, such as a crash course in Complementary and Alternative Therapies:

“The things that I learned researching mindfulness have really come in handy when working with children and young people who show signs of struggling with anxiety. Of course, in cases where the child needs direct support from a specialist service we would refer, however with some children who may just need to explore coping strategies, mindfulness offers a simple and effective strategy to allow them to learn how to calm themselves down in stressful or anxious situations.”

Moira Little leads on the BSc Child Health and Wellbeing programme and believes that the transferable skills students pick up during the course, alongside the placement opportunities, make graduates very attractive to employers:

“We provide a range of enrichment and ‘added value’ experiences throughout the three-year programme, including British Red Cross paediatric first aid training, the Solihull Parenting Programme, Heartstart instructor training for cardiac emergencies, basic food hygiene training, mental health first aid, and community sport training.”

Pragmatism lies at the heart of the course philosophy, which aims from the start to mentally and physically prepare students to enter a work environment where they are likely to face some upsetting situations, and are able to think on their feet, and use creativity to tailor their responses in each individual case.

Moira says that the team of Edge Hill teachers plays a crucial role in preparing people for work:

“The team includes sociologists, psychologists, nutritionists, dieticians, health visitors, paediatricians, learning disability and mental health nurses, nursery owners, criminologists and counsellors. They have work and life experiences that allow them to share examples, to enable students to conceptualise situations, and make very important links between theory and practice.”

The cornerstone of the course, then, is the emphasis on mandatory four-week work placements, with students encouraged to take further opportunities should they arise. Darcie spent a month with the Greater Manchester Police Child Protection team:

“I was able to shadow officers not only carrying out visits and interviews, but getting first-hand experience on how child protection laws and legislations are applied. I found I had a particular interest in domestic abuse, which inspired my dissertation topic around child sexual abuse. Seeing professionals interacting with children and families who were experiencing difficult, and in some cases, traumatic circumstances was invaluable, as I now deal with those situations on a daily basis and can build on what I experienced within my placement to ensure that I’m providing the best support possible for any family I may work with.”

With such a positive and effective training experience behind her, Darcie is taking professional life in her stride. But she is also keen to emphasise how much she enjoyed the whole student experience:

“Going to University was my biggest aspiration and my greatest achievement. Edge Hill was everything I wanted University to be. I enjoyed every minute of living on campus during my first year – it helped that the accommodation was of a very high standard.”

Although admitting it’s odd, Darcie treasures memories of “walking back across campus at 4am after spending all night in the library, and getting back home to watch WrestleMania Live with flatmates: “I think that might have been when I truly felt like a student.” That, and spending Mondays down the local indie rock night.

And the University also provided her with something that it’s impossible to put a price on:

“The best thing I’ve come away from Edge Hill with (other than my actual degree) is the friendships I made. I’m still regularly in touch with my friends from my course and to be able to graduate with them by my side was the best ending to an amazing three years.”

And with that Darcie returns to trying to help transform the lives of other children and young people.

Students visit to Bucharest

A group of third year students recently spent a week at the University of Bucharest representing Edge Hill in an international competition.

Charlotte McKeown, Isatu Manka, Paige Stevens, Rachel Sargent, Ryan Johnson, and Kayleigh Glynn took part in a marketing simulation exercise, Markstrat 2018, which allows students  control of virtual corporation. They, along with 115 other students from 10 countries, had to make decisions in marketing, finance, and research and development areas for ‘their’ company.

They were accompnaied by Marketing Program Leader Fiona Syson who said, “It was a joy to see the Edge Hill students transform from nervous and unsure on day one to confident and assured team members by day five. They blossomed over the week as their confidence in both the simulation and cross cultural communication grew. It is one of those experiences that will differentiate our students from other candidates in a competitive jobs market. Plus they had a great time too!”